Book Review: Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1) by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (Viking Press, 2001) by Eoin Colfer is the first in an eight-book children’s science fiction series. Born in Ireland, Artemis Fowl is a twelve-year-old boy genius. With the muscle of his manservant, a trained killer called Butler, young Artemis is the criminal mastermind behind innumerable schemes to regain the Fowl family fortune.

When Artemis embarks upon an elaborate scheme to take an elf captain hostage in exchange for a ransom of fairy gold, Fowl Manor is soon under siege by LEPrecon, the reconnaissance division of the “Lower Elements Police.” While the smugly brilliant Artemis is by far the most interesting and entertaining person in the book, the titular character definitely seems to take a backseat in the story and – in my opinion, unfortunately – the book focuses far more on Captain Holly Short, Commander Root, and the colorful, mythical cast of the LEPrecon unit than I would’ve preferred.

All the same, this was a fairly entertaining YA fantasy heist. There were some rather low-brow plot mechanisms that I didn’t think were altogether necessary; then again, I’m a 30-year-old woman, not the book’s intended audience of a 12-year-old boy. From a writing perspective, I was confused that the author wrote in omniscient voice; generally speaking, this practice is avoided. The narrative frequently head-hops between characters, often from sentence to sentence.

The bulk of my enjoyment of this novel stemmed mostly from the lively delivery and delightful array of accents performed by the audio book’s narrator, Nathaniel Parker. I’m looking forward to continuing listening to Mr. Parker’s performance of the series on audio.

Book Review: Heist Society (#1) by Ally Carter

“…[T]his might be, in every way, a ghost hunt, a fool’s errand. The greatest con the greatest con man to never live had ever pulled.” – 57%

Since I so thoroughly enjoyed her Embassy Row series, I’ve embarked up Ally Carter’s Heist Society trilogy. Heist Society (Disney-Hyperion, 2010) is the first book in this fun, YA heist adventure series.

Fifteen-year-old Katarina Bishop was born into a family of high-end art thieves. She tried to run away from crime life by enrolling in a prestigious private school, but her longtime billionaire friend (and potential love interest), W. W. Hale, has her expelled. And perfect timing, for it turns out a notorious villain is after Kat’s father for a theft Bobby Bishop insists he did not commit. In order to save her father, Kat must find out who stole Arturo Taccone’s five valuable paintings and steal them back for Mr. Taccone, before he kills her father.

Now, I’m a huge Oceans trilogy fan and a general lover of heist films, so this story spoke naturally to my interests. It’s lighthearted, cinematic, dryly humorous, and not bogged down with too many details – just how I like my easy YA escapes! If I could’ve changed one thing, I’d have preferred it to have been written in first person, like Carter’s other books, instead of third person. Otherwise, this book was a fun international romp through Europe and the U.S., with a colorful cast of teen collaborators, an impossible mission, a mystery Robin Hood figure, and surprises at every turn. I was 100% entertained and will be eagerly devouring Book 2!